“LEGO Masters” (Banijay)
Formats are proving to be resilient to the decline in commissioning activity experienced across the wider media industry, according to a new report from Ampere Analysis. While the volume of Unscripted titles announced in North America fell by 14% between the first half 2022 and the first half of 2023, titles based on formats were less affected with a decrease of just 6%.
According to Ampere Analysis, with formats representing a “safe bet” in a turbulent market, format-based commissions are decreasingly euro-centric, as global streamers and other non-European commissioners represent an increasing proportion of new formats announced.
Western Europe, and in particular the UK, still remains the creative engine of formats, the report assured. Between the first half of 2019 and the first half of 2023, 36% of all format-based commissions were based on UK formats. However, the emergence of global competitors sees English-language titles represent a decreasing proportion of format-based commissions. While English language format titles represented 59% of all format-based commissions in H1 2019, this number had dropped to 36% by the same period in 2023.
● WHO TOPS THE CHARTS FOR GLOBAL FORMAT SALES?
With 824 titles announced based on its formats between H1 2019 and H1 2023, Banijay leads the field with almost twice as many titles based on its formats than any other owner (ITV Studios was second with 464 titles). Owning a fifth of the top 20 formats globally, the vast catalogue includes many titles previously sold by Endemol Shine, acquired by the company in 2020. These include “MasterChef,” “Big Brother,” “Robinson,” and “LEGO Masters.”
Although Banijay leads in terms of the total number of titles based on formats, most of these do not represent new international versions. Between H1 2019 and H1 2023, 59% of all commissions based on Banijay-owned formats were renewals in existing markets. Analyzing new international versions showed that ITV Studios exported more new formats than any other format owner. New competitors are also emerging, with South Korea’s MBC-owned “The Masked Singer” commissioned in more markets than any other individual format.
● AN INCREASING IMPORTANCE IN THE VOD COMMISSIONING LANDSCAPE
While streamers have a long way to go to compete with more established players in the formats landscape – VOD commissions made up just 15% of all format-based commissions announced between H1 2019 and H1 2023 – they are increasingly focused on using formats as a way to boost local Originals.
International production capabilities also give global streamers a competitive advantage over their linear competitors. While linear commissioners carry out negotiations to import a format from elsewhere, streamers can easily recreate their own formats in multiple markets. Global streamers Discovery+, Netflix, Prime Video, and Discovery+ made up three of the top 15 commissioners of format-based titles between H1 2019 and H1 2023, and VOD commissions represent an increasing proportion of format-based commissions overall.
“With commissioners facing more stringent spending limits, format-based titles offer an opportunity for companies to reduce risk by recreating shows that have a proven track record. Formats also give global commissioners an advantage, as they can easily replicate successful formats in different operating markets. The future will represent unprecedented competition for Western European format owners, as more international and global players increase their focus on format-based titles,” said Olivia Deane, Senior Analyst at Ampere Analysis.